Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Cameroon: Security tightened amid rising insecurity on borders

Cameroon has, amid rising insecurity and tension around its borders, continued to deploy advanced security equipment to key areas. The latest is the dispatch of modern anti-crime vehicles and equipment to the Far-North Region where elements from Nigeria's Boko Haram militant Islamist sect have been infiltrating the country after clashing with the Nigerian army. The equipment was presented to the Far-North Governor Augustin Fonka Awah on 26 August.

The 17 vehicles, including heavy trucks and four-wheel drive cars, were handed to the region's paramilitary gendarmerie commander. Observers believe that following the apparent military successes against Boko Haram, its militants have been crossing over into Cameroon, now seen as their safe haven, just as is the case of those who were chased out of Mali and are believed to have joined Boko Haram in Nigeria and Cameroon or to have moved over to Niger.
Cameroon officials have reported repeated cross-border crime, and have arrested some individuals within its territory earlier this year that were suspected of belonging to Boko Haram. The Far-North gendarmerie commander Francis Tang Tang assured Governor Awah Fonka that, with the new equipment, the fight against crime and cross-border insecurity was guaranteed.
Meanwhile last week, Cameroon witnessed an overspill of violence from its eastern neighbour the Central African Republic (CAR) which forced the government to close its borders. According to the East Region's Governor Dioudonne Samuel Ihava Diboua, three soldiers belonging to the Seleka rebel movement crossed over into Cameroon territory on 19 August and killed a Cameroonian frontier policeman in the border town of Tocktoyo after having got seriously drunk on Cameroonian territory.
He said that the Seleka rebels, like other needy Central Africans, routinely cross over into Cameroon to get supplies. But those who killed the police official were uncontrollable at a time when the CAR's ruling junta is trying to disarm suspected supporters of ousted president Francois Bozize, who is suspected to be rallying forces to retake power. Bozize, who recently left for France, had fled into Cameroon where about 200 of his military supporters have been individually identified.
Cameroon had tightened security along its borders with the Central African Republic but, given the limited number of troops that it has at its disposal to secure the frontiers, as well as corruption and other problems, it might seem difficult for it to truly ensure its own security in a country that is also facing the added security requirements of its own forthcoming elections.
For more news and expert analysis about Cameroon, please see Cameroon Politics & Security.

© 2013 Menas Associates

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